A judge has rejected MSHA’s finding of unwarrantable failure against an Illinois coal producer, who the agency claimed must have known miners were working in the “red zone” around continuous mining machines (CMM) yet failed to enforce a rule against the unsafe practice.
MSHA did not rely on recent trends in prevalence data for coalworkers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP) in developing its black lung rule, a government auditing agency has concluded.
In reaching that conclusion, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) stood behind its conclusion from an earlier report that MSHA evaluated appropriate data to determine that lowering miners’ exposure to coal dust would reduce disease levels.
In the wake of a deep funding cut and reduced state safety inspections of Kentucky coal mines, the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper has skewered a coal industry executive who advocates that states be the “primary regulators” with MSHA relegated to an oversight role.
Beating MSHA to the punch, West Virginia has become the first state to require proximity detection devices on continuous mining machines (CMMs) in underground coal mines.
Under a rule unanimously approved Wednesday by the state’s Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety, proximity detection systems will be required by July 2017 on CMMs already in use. New CMMs will be required to have them by next January 1; rebuilt CMMs, by July 1, 2015. Proximity detectors warn miners when they get near and shut down automatically when they get too close.
There was good news and bad in MSHA’s release this week of preliminary injury and enforcement data from 2013.
The good news is that the total injury rate in both the Coal and Metal/Non-Metal (M/NM) sectors declined to record lows during the year. The figures were 3.08 and 2.11, respectively; in mining overall, 2.46.
U.S. Rep. George Miller will not realize his long-held hope for Congress to enact mine reform legislation before he retires.
On Wednesday, Miller (D-CA) and fellow Democrats on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce submitted an amendment to labor-related legislation under consideration by the committee. The amendment was in the form of a bill, the Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act, which Miller has been trying to enact for years.
MSHA is recalling Form 5000-23 booklets it sent to mine operators in error after some operators called the agency to question what they’d received.
“The wrong forms were inadvertently printed,” MSHA spokeswoman Amy Louviere said in an email this morning in response to our inquiry to explain the problem. “MSHA personnel have been notified. The forms have been recalled and we will issue the correct ones.”
An aggregate miner has died after being struck on the head at a sand and gravel mine in Virginia.
David K. Benner, Director of the state’s Division of Mineral Mining, identified the victim as Robert J, Devich, 64, of Virginia Beach. Devich, a certified foreman with 31 years’ mining experience, was killed at Baillio Sand Co., Inc.’s Lord Farm #5 Mine in Virginia Beach County.
An inspector shut down a haul road twice within eight days due to muddy conditions, but a judge threw out the associated two citations after finding the inspector never observed any of the operator’s vehicles on the road.
Merely providing miners with multigas detectors does not satisfy MSHA requirements unless there is evidence the operator also enforces their use.
A miner was killed and two others were injured when a coal pillar burst during retreat mining, work MSHA had previously advised the mine operator not to undertake due to unfavorable conditions.
Veteran continuous mining machine operator Lenny Gilliam, 56, was killed in the accident in August 2013 at Lone Mountain Processing, Inc.’s Huff Creek No. 1 Mine in Kentucky. Another miner survived life-threatening injuries in the accident, and a third miner received minor injuries.
MSHA has issued a Program Information Bulletin to remind the mining industry of the process for submitting a corrective action program (CAP) as a mitigating circumstance to avoid pattern of violation (POV) status and of the tools available to assist operators in monitoring their compliance status.
An inadequately secured cable tray and improper positioning of a worker on a stepladder led to a fatal fall last October 17 at a California cement plant.
Fernando Rivera, 52, died in the incident at National Cement Company of California’s Lebec Cement Plant in Kern County. Rivera, who had nearly 5½ years’ experience at the plant as a journeyman electrician, died two days later.
Failure to monitor and stabilize ground conditions coupled with a failure to provide task training on a new mining procedure led to the death of a Georgia miner.
MSHA said Paul D. Barnes, 53, a water cannon operator with 19 years of mining experience, died when the bank of a trench he was standing on collapsed, engulfing him. It took more than five hours to recover his body. The accident occurred last December at Brown Brothers Sand Co.’s Wittchen Stephen Plants, an industrial sand operation in Talbot County.
A policy memorandum is coming from MSHA on Part 50 requirements and injury and illness under-reporting.
A documentary about the Upper Big Branch-South (UBB) Mine tragedy by the former CEO of Massey Energy Co. has led two individuals who appear in it to forswear their association with the production.
An appeals court has rejected a Virginia coal operator’s objection to an MSHA citation it received for failing to report an injury to a contract worker that the contractor had already reported.
State Grants Funding Fight Heads into Round 2
Another Round of Lobbying Foreseen
NIOSH Compiles Lessons Learned to Speed Mine Rescue
Rescue by Capsule Made More Efficient
Civil Cases Worthy of Note
MSHA Vacates Controversial Training Citations
Agency Still Has the Last Say
Guest Comment: MSHA’s Enforcement of Fall Protection
Lawyer Advises ‘Reasonable Person’ Approach
Guest Opinions: The UBB Explosion and Investigations
Differing Views about Tragedy
Current Regulatory Agenda
Proposed (P) Final (F)
(F) Respirable Coal Dust Dec '13
(F) Prox Detect Devices: CMMs Feb '14
(P) Fees for Product Testing Dec. '13
(P) Civil Penalties Dec '13
(P) Prox Detect Devices UG May '14
(P) Silica Jun '14
(F) Confined Space Construction Feb '14
(F) Update NAICS Apr '14
(F) Slips, Trips, Falls Jun '14
(P) Cranes/Derricks Dec '13
(P) Beryllium Apr '14
(P) I2P2 Sep '14
- Coal 3
- Aggregates 2
- Other M/NM 4
- Coal 20
- Aggregates 12
- Other M/NM 10
- Coal 20
- Aggregates 10
- Other M/NM 6
- Coal 21
- Aggregates 8
- Other M/NM 8